Speaking of bear hats

Observe: bear hat, the prequel!

I made this one for myself last year — a top-down beanie with a seed-stitch brim, half-assed seed-stitch earflaps and long i-cord ties. While everyone else was getting all dressed up for a giant party, I frantically added bear ears and asked everyone in sight things like “Do these curl enough?” and “Does this look OK?” and “Does this say ‘bear’ to you?”

I only got to wear the hat out twice before my boyfriend and I went to visit a good friend, whose 12-year-old daughter was hanging out with us one night at some crazy hour of the morning. I plopped the giant, fuzzy hat on her head and tied the ends under her chin, and then everyone in the room put their hands to their mouths and drew back and said “Oh my god! So cute!”

I thought Damn, I was really hoping to actually wear that one, and immediately gave her the hat.

Her dad’s a photographer, so we all trooped out to the studio, picking our way over the air mattress where my boyfriend was crashed out asleep in a small, pathetic pile, fired up some lights and took some pictures of her, being very careful not to step on my boyfriend’s head.

If you’ve ever wondered if a super-expensive, super-elite pro camera makes a difference, IT DOES. The detail is mind-bendingly stunning, the colors are vivid and the precision is off the charts. It also has the heft of a brick, practically, and makes you go all gawky and nervous when you pick it up. I’ve been interested in photography since I was 15 and a gadget nerd since I was born, and touching this thing made me feel so awed that I snapped a couple shots and handed the thing off like a hot potato immediately. I am an idiot.

As to giving away the hat — that happens a lot to me. I keep finding things that I think are awesome, or making things that are awesome, and then I pretty quickly stumble on the person the item should actually belong to. Sometimes the things need a little work — a novelty yarn that’s beautiful but just not meant to be mine, a bike that needs cleaning, shoes with a slightly loose heel, or — most memorably — a beautiful old velour men’s jacket with a falling-apart lining that stank like it had been steeped in a cigar-smoking old man’s sweaty armpits for two decades.

I fix the bikes, repair wobly bits, re-skein yarn, soak the the jacket overnight in two gallons of water and a whole box of baking soda and then painstakingly whip-stitch the lining back to the jacket, and then pass the things along to their rightful new owners. There aren’t many things that I love too much to give away.

I’m not saying this to sound sanctimonious or overly angelic. Get anywhere near my iPod, my Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, my ice cream or my skull collection, and you’ll find out what a selfish, unyielding pig I am.

Also: Robot crochet

Anyway. There is a little crochet going on. I am working on a toy: a little red robot, inspired by one of my very first true Internet loves, explodingdog. If I could make crochet toys with a fraction of the expressiveness of Sam Brown’s wobbly, deceptively simple stick figures, I would be touching genius.

I love the red robots that show up in the drawings (not as much as the people, but close). I’m not a big fan of making direct copies of other people’s ideas, so I cracked open my little ideas sketchbook and drew something cuter. It’s funny: with animals and people, I like bizarre, grotesque imagery, but with things that aren’t alive or seem especially alien to us breathing types, I like them to look cute or unnervingly humanoid. I want my animals freaky and my toasters adorable, I guess.

Also: knitting

And knitting: I mostly finished inventing another cabled fingerless glove pattern, then lost a stitch, increased to make up for it, and then a couple inches later found the lost stitch gleefully unraveling itself down through several cable crossings, waaaaay beyond a point where I could retrieve it. I was already slightly uneasy about the length and fit of the glove, so I figured the hell with it — might as well rip it all out, start it over, adjust the width and have something that’s perfect instead of “almost there.” Which means I get to start over again.

The only thing keeping me from hurling the yarn to the back of the dark, damp cabinet under the kitchen sink or someplace equally dank and remote is that once they’re done, I’ll have the pattern written out all the way in two sizes, and I’ll be able to make a pair for myself.

And they will rule.